I would like to wish all of my readers a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Also, thank you to those of you who have kept up with my blog in the first few months. I hope this coming year will bring plenty of opportunities for me to go boatwatching!
Last week Tuesday, American Steamship’s American Courage arrived in Sturgeon Bay for winter layup. The Courage‘s arrival brings the total of ships in Sturgeon Bay so far to five. They are American Spirit, American Courage, Arthur M. Anderson, John G. Munson, and the tug Invincible. The carferry Badger will not be staying for the remainder of the winter; when her five-year survey is completed, she will be towed back to Ludington, MI. The Alpena was not expected to stay in Sturgeon Bay originally, but due to the recent fire on board, she may be staying for the whole winter so repairs can be completed. The cause of that fire has still not been determined, but the Sturgeon Bay Fire Chief says that the fire was accidental and it had nothing to do with the work being performed on board the Alpena. Stay tuned for more information!
On Friday, after six weeks at anchor off Duluth, the Liberian-flagged saltie Cornelia departed Duluth, bound for the Atlantic. The ship departed right on time – leaving any later could mean that the ship would not make it to the Welland Canal before it closes on December 26. The St. Lawrence Seaway system closes for the season on December 30.
On Thursday morning, the Herbert C. Jackson‘s two new 85,000 diesel engines arrived at Fraser Shipyards by truck from Milwaukee. The new engines will give the Jackson enhanced propulsion capabilities and will be more reliable than the current steam engine. The conversion work will take place at Fraser Shipyards over the winter.
On Thursday afternoon, John G. Munson made her way into the Sturgeon Bay harbor. Over the winter, she will have her steam engine replaced with a new, energy-efficient diesel one. She, along with her near sisters Arthur M. Anderson, Philip R. Clarke, and Cason J. Callaway, have not yet had their original steam engines removed, until now. There is no information on whether any of the three latter ships will be repowered.
The cause of the fire that occurred aboard the Alpena last weekend has still not been determined. However, the crews at Bay Shipbuilding are continuing their work sandblasting and painting the ship, which is a sign that the ship may be repaired and ready to operate next season. Check back for updates on this!
This week has been a busy one in the port of Duluth. Late Monday evening, the new saltie Federal Bering arrived Duluth to load 21,000 tons of wheat at canola at the CHS terminal in Superior. The Bering will be the final saltie to visit Duluth/Superior for the 2015 season. Federal Bering is part of Fednav’s new B-class of ships specifically designed to transit the Great Lakes/Seaway system, and was delivered to the company earlier this year. After loading, the Bering will take her cargo to both the Gulf of Mexico and Mexico.
In other saltie news, the Cornelia finally got underway after a little over 40 days at anchor off Duluth and arrived at the Clure Public Marine Terminal to refuel and resupply on Wednesday. She will most likely be departing for the ocean soon, with a rough deadline of Friday to ensure that the vessel will clear the Welland Canal before it closes for the season on December 26. Ken Newhams of the Duluth Shipping News took some photos of her arrival that can be seen here.
Also on Wednesday, the newly rebuilt former saltwater tanker Manitoulin arrived Duluth and went to the CN dock for a load of iron ore pellets. Manitoulin arrived on the Lakes in November after being rebuilt as a Great Lakes bulk carrier in China. This is her first ever visit to the port of Duluth/Superior.
Here are some updated photos of the Alpena in Sturgeon Bay, after the fire was put out. Both photos courtesy of the Green Bay Press Gazette.
This photo shows the inside of the drydock, where photos are normally hard to get! Note the blackened spots on the starboard quarter of the stern, where the paint was blistered off. The propeller has also been removed for work.
Close up of the stern section – not the burnt and blackened upper deck in this photo.
On Friday evening, fire broke out aboard the steamer Alpena in Sturgeon Bay. Nearly 100 firefighters from nine departments were called to the shipyard just after 6:00 p.m. on Friday. Crews arrived to find smoke pouring from the stern of the ship.
The 519-foot Alpena arrived in Sturgeon Bay last Saturday for its five-year survey, and both the Alpena and Badger were placed in the large drydock. The Badger is believed to have not been affected by the blaze, and her five-year survey is expected to be completed within the next week.
As of Saturday morning, the extent of the damage aboard Alpena was unknown, although photos showed blistering paint on her starboard stern. According to the Tim Herlache, chief of the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department, the blaze was about three decks down, near the engine room of the ship, although the engine was not involved in the fire. Chief Herlache said the dining area, the cafeteria and some staterooms on the ship were all heavily damaged.
The above photo shows smoke billowing from the stern of the Alpena. American Spirit is berthed to the left of Alpena. (Courtesy: NBC26 News)
(Courtesy: Green Bay Press Gazette)